Ender Wiggin is a Third, the third child in his family. He is ridiculed because families are not supposed to be having Thirds. It’s shameful in society because of population limits, but the government wanted his parents to have a Third. The Wiggin children held special promise. The eldest, Peter, was too ruthless and violent, but the second, Valentine, was too empathetic. They needed a mix between the two and got Ender. Ender is extra special because he just might have what it takes to be a general to lead the starfleet and defeat the buggers, an insectoid alien race that attacked Earth and rebuffed all attempts for communication and therefore must be destroyed before they destroy Earth. At six years old, Ender is invited to attend Battle School where he will learn combat strategies in faux battles in simulated zero gravity. He must compete in games and show his brilliance or be a victim, targeted by older and more vindictive children. While there, Ender is isolated and yet manages to find a few people he trusts. Can Ender survive the grueling trauma that is growing up in Battle School among many enemies, win the games, and ultimately save the world or will he break under the strain and resign all of Earth and its citizens to be obliterated by the buggers?
With the new movie coming out next month (starring Harrison Ford!), I knew I had to read this book before I watched the movie. While I love fantasy, I’m not as fully in love with science fiction. Don’t get me wrong! I LOVE Star Wars, and the new Star Trek movies are pretty great. I also liked reading George Lucas’s trilogy about Willow and Elora Danan, the Acorna series, and C.S. Lewis’ sci-fi trilogy, but it’s just not my favorite genre.
For Ender’s Game, I came prepared to love it, but alas, not the case. I found Ender to be likeable, but there is just so much brutality in this book that I could not get over! (It has been on the list of Banned Books–just a FYI and reminder of celebrating ALA’s Banned Books Week 2013 a few weeks ago). How a child could survive the way Ender does is beyond me…it is no wonder he ends up with PTSD symptoms and the capacity to only trust a few friends and his beloved sister. Still, it is a great story and one that shows what might happen if a child really were to have the responsibility for saving the world, that the innocence would have to be forced out of him and leave his actual childhood crippled. While I moderately enjoyed reading the book and will see the movie eventually, I’m not planning on reading the rest of the series. This was enough of a mental battle for me!
Watch the trailer here! The movie looks seriously awesome!